Guided of the Lord

 •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 9
Genesis 33
Instead of Esau harming Jacob, he embraced and kissed him, removing all Jacob’s fears at once. It was God who disposed Esau to be so kind, for there has been bitter hatred between Jacob’s descendants (the Jews) and Esau’s descendants (the Edomites) ever since. It reminds one of that verse, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever He will” (Proverbs 21:11The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will. (Proverbs 21:1)). God brought Daniel into favor and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs, just as here He brought Jacob into favor with Esau. Let us learn as young Christians to bring all our difficulties to the Lord, trusting Him to do what seems impossible, for there is nothing too hard for the Lord.
All of Grace
As we have remarked previously, Jacob still had some lessons to learn, and he did not see that all was of grace. He called Esau “my lord,” for­getting, at least for the time, that the promised blessing rested on himself, not because he deserved it, but because “the gifts and calling of God are with­out repentance” (Romans 11:2929For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. (Romans 11:29)). God had said, “The elder [Esau) shall serve the younger [Jacob]” (Romans 9:1212It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. (Romans 9:12)), and His purposes of sovereign grace were going to stand in spite of all Jacob’s failure. Esau would have welcomed Jacob to Mount Seir, his own dwell­ing place, but God was leading him step by step to Bethel. Once again Jacob’s deceitful character is seen, for he told his brother a lie in saying that he was going to Mount Seir, for it is quite apparent he had no thought of doing so. This should remind us that God knows the very thoughts of our hearts and hears everything we say. It is never right to tell a lie, even though it may seem to get us out of trouble. “Lying lips are abomination to the Lord” (Proverbs 12:2222Lying lips are abomination to the Lord: but they that deal truly are his delight. (Proverbs 12:22)).
Gathered With Others
At last Jacob got to Canaan, though not yet to Bethel. When in Shechem he would have settled down, for he bought a piece of land on which to pitch his tent. He made an altar there and called it El-Elohe-Israel, which means God, the God of Israel. He was making some progress but would worship as an individual, instead of in Bethel, the house of God. He was like many dear Christians today who are satisfied to stay at home and read their Bible, or listen to the radio, instead of being exercised to go, if possible, and meet with those who are gathered to­gether to the name of the Lord Jesus. There we can remember Him in His death, as well as attend the Bible read­ing and the prayer meeting. And let us not forget the Sunday school and the Gospel meeting, too, where we can “strive together for the faith of the Gospel” (Philippians 1:2727Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; (Philippians 1:27)) according to the Word of God. It is a fine thing to read your Bible at home, but the truth of God will never make us self-centered. It will lead us rather to gather with others who “call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:2222Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. (2 Timothy 2:22)).
If Jacob had been walking as he should, the Lord could have guided him with His eye, but sad to say He had to use the “bit and bridle” and guide him the hard way (Psalm 32:8-98I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. 9Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee. (Psalm 32:8‑9)). Much better, however, that the Lord should use the bit and bridle, than that He should leave us to our own willful ways.
The hand our many sins had pierced,
Is now our guard and guide.
Further Meditation
1. How did Esau and Jacob treat each other when they met?
2. What does it mean when we say that the Lord is using the “bit and bridle” to guide us instead of His “eye”?
3. You would no doubt be encouraged if you listened to the Audio CD Hear, Learn, Keep, Do & Divine Guidance by C. H. Mackintosh.